Recently, I have heard a great many people talk about home.
Austin, Texas as a home. A location for loved ones as a home. A general community as a home.
I think long and hard about what I perceive “home” to be.
It really is a broadly-general term.
Home can be a place in your head, a physical location, a concept of belonging. There is a very traditional view of a home being a house where a newly-married couple settles in and raises their family.
Their children grow, become educated, leave to begin their own families; and retirement and golden years set in in comfort. Very idyllic and Norman Rockwell-esque.
A home is a location where friends and families gather for holidays and birthdays and celebrations and deaths. And coffee on a Monday afternoon.
They are gathering places for emotions and arguments and – God, willing – harmony and foundation.
And as I ponder and think, I come to the conclusion that I don’t understand what this term means. It is as familiar to me as if I comprehended what living on the moon would be like.
A home should be happy; welcoming and the home base of all that is familiar and warm.
What does that mean?
I grew up in a “home” that provided beating and screaming. I moved to a “home” and raised my son in the neighborhood of drug dealers and prostitutes.
Less than 8 months ago, I packed up everything I owned and moved thousands of miles from everything I’d ever associated with familiarity.
And I’m still me. I don’t feel any different. I have enjoyed the adventure and I am blessed for having been able to experience a new world, new people, and a new culture. I’ll always be the same me, but I had nothing and no one to leave behind.
I had no ties that some consider a “home”. I have nothing – I miss nothing. There are no loose ends to tie.
My life has consisted of a beating heart that is singularly keeping time.
It’s only mine.
I fear that my entire and overall perception – and that of the world in general – of “home” is based upon the bullshit that people in society are fed and naturally go along with: that there is one mommy, one daddy, and they all live happily ever after.
It’s not even remotely all that black and white.
I raised my son in our home as a single mother and he reached the age of consent over a decade ago.
My home then became an empty nest.
Dysfunction is far too often mistaken for a side effect or a natural, residual product of the nuclear family.
And people fall for this bullshit.
“Home” is not about a physical structure that you can load up with lots of expensive material items that you extend your credit to buy, only to impress the neighbors.
That’s a house.
A “home” is not a source of safety, comfort, or satisfaction if it is the primary contributor of angst, guilt, or physical insecurity…no matter who happens to be waiting at the door or sleeping beside you.
I had previously given all of this little thought, having never really experienced a “home”.
I make my bed where I lay my head. My education and enjoyment and cultural stature have been from roaming the world and hiking ruins…not sitting in the middle of four walls.
Maybe I’m just the type of person that doesn’t need a traditional home. My places in the world have served me greatly in a sleeping blanket under the stars at the Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota.
I have slept in a tent along the fence line of a field right next to cows on Herm Island in the English Channel.
I have a roof over my head, sustenance for my belly, and music in my ears.
What could a “home” possibly offer me?